Shortly after being diagnosed with COPD and no longer able to pursue his work as an engraver, Chip turned his talents to web design. Chip became a cofounder of COPD International, and at a time when chatrooms and listserves were still in their infancy, Chip designed and managed the COPD International website and listserve. This allowed patients across the country to communicate with other patients in sharing their stories, concerns and updates in treatment advances. For many newly diagnosed patients, Chips work provided eagerly sought information and outreach and helped improve countless lives. Additionally, his work with Breathe New Hampshire continues to bring COPD awareness to the citizens of the state he so loved.
Just over ten years ago, Chip helped establish the COPD Foundation serving both on its Board of Directors and its COPD Digest Editorial Board. I first came to know Chip when shortly after my own diagnosis I became a staff member of the newly established COPD Foundation. I had the honor of working with Chip to establish the C.O.P.D. Information Line, a support line staffed by COPD patients and caregivers. At a time when such technology was still very simplistic, Chip was able to design an efficient groundbreaking platform that became a model emulated by other patient organizations.
During the many years I was privileged to work with Chip, I found him filled with passion and brimming with talent. In about every circumstance, if there were a problem, Chip would usually find an answer. After working together on many issues that confronted our community, I came to regard Chip not just as a co-worker, but a friend. Our many long conversations soon became more like wish lists of what Chip dreamed for the community he came to love, and who loved him in return. When a member of the COPD Foundation community would pass, Chip was usually the first one to reach out to me to offer solace and kind words for another life lost. Chip felt each loss personally simply because he considered everyone with COPD to be a part of his family.
When Chip first began his work in COPD , the disease was still very much hidden from public view as were those who suffered from it. It was the work of people like Chip that helped bring the term chronic obstructive pulmonary disease into the eyes of the public and as a result helped bring about a new era resulting in new treatments, research and technologies that improve the quality for the COPD community.
In our last conversations, Chip expressed his hopes that the work we did together made a difference in the lives of others. He also said that he hoped others would one day step up and carry the flag when he was no longer able to, because there still was so much work left to do. His concerns were always for others, and rarely himself; and this is probably the best description I can give of the man himself.
In our lives, if we are fortunate enough, we will touch a life. Chip and his work touched thousands of lives by providing support, love and friendship at a time when needed most. His work changed lives, and the future will echo the legacy he left us.
The COPD Foundation extends our sincere condolences to Chips longtime companion Betty, his family and countless friends. We are grateful for having Chip in our lives and a part of the Foundation and the community we represent.